Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Book Worth Talking About: Last Child in the Woods - Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv

First published in 2005 and re-published in 2008, I first heard about Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv from another book, A Child's Garden by Molly Dannenmaier, which I read and enthusiastically reviewed last year. I'm reading it right now and would highly recommend it to anyone with children. From the introduction:

"Within the space of a few decades, the way children understand and experience nature has changed radically...Today, kids are aware of the global threats to the environment--but their physical contact, their intimacy with nature, is fading...

...This book explores the increasing divide between the young and the natural world, and the environmental, social, psychological, and spiritual implications of that change. It also describes the accumulating research that reveals the necessity of contact with nature for healthy child--and adult--development...

...Our society is teaching young people to avoid direct experience in nature. That lesson is delivered in schools, families, even organizations devoted to the outdoors, and codified into the legal and regulatory structures of many of our communities..."

An absurd example of this was written about in today's New York Times in the article "Build a Wiffle Ball Field and Lawyers Will Come," which reports on the local Greenwich, Connecticut backlash against a group of teenagers who turned an empty, town-owned lot into a miniature Fenway Park. The saddest quote comes from Jeff Currivan, 17: “They think we’re a cult...People think we should be home playing ‘Grand Theft Auto.’ ”


Craig at Ellis Hollow said...

If you're looking for ways to put Louv's work into practice, check out my co-worker Marcia Eames-Sheavly's Cornell Garden-Based Learning Program website:

Kathi~Lavender, Lace and Thyme said...

Your pictures are always so breathtaking! :)

Babs said...

Really enjoyed the NYT article.
I know my time as a kid was structured to some degree, but I feel like I spent a lot of time at summer camp, playing in the mud and getting mosquito bites along the way.

If I ever have children, we're all going out in the woods to get mosquito bites.....I'll need to remember to bring the insect repellent.

heirloomgardener said...


Thank you for the suggestion. I've been looking for a resource like the one you pointed me to!

-Heirloom Gardener

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